“There is a breed of desert men, not hiding exactly but gone to sanctuary from the sins of confusion,” John Steinbeck wrote in Travels With Charley. “These men have not changed with the exploding times except to die and be replaced by others like them.”
They are keepers of secrets, of passed-down tales concerning the wonders of the desert. These fables abound: varying accounts about a pair of prospectors who discovered untold riches deep in the hills but died or lost their treasures before returning to civilization. Vague directions to sand-covered ruins left behind by Ancient Peoples. Rumors of a Spanish galleon beached by some great flood. And of course, the fervent reports of UFOs.